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The Most Heart-Wrenching Moments In 'Island Of The Blue Dolphins'

Updated March 14, 2019 367 votes 56 voters 4.2k views14 items

List RulesVote up the passages that make you relive the beauty and melancholy all over again.

In Island of the Blue Dolphins, 12-year-old Karana is left alone on her island after invaders slay her father and the rest of her tribe leaves the island. Karana must learn to survive completely alone, hunting for food and avoiding pitfalls like the pack of wild dogs that claimed her brother's life. Karana struggles with the loss and the fact no one is coming to save her. In the intense story, first published in 1960 by Scott O'Dell, Karana still manages to find joy and beauty in her life. After nearly eliminating the leader of the wild dogs, Karana nurses him back to health and he becomes her best friend.

Generations of young readers couldn't put Island of the Blue Dolphins down. As a Newbery Award winner, Island of the Blue Dolphins ranks among the best children's books. And shockingly, the classic novel is based on a true story. In the 19th century, Juana Maria lived on San Nicolas Island alone for 18 years until help finally came. Tragically, she passed just weeks later. Relive the most heart-wrenching moments from Island of the Blue Dolphins and vote for the most moving passages.

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  • 1

    Karana Imagines Having Conversations

    Photo: Ranker

    The Aleuts who slew her father return to the island, and Karana hides. But one girl traveling with the Aleuts finds her. Over the course of three days, Karana and Tutok learn to communicate with each other.

    Long after Tutok leaves Karana alone on the island, Karana imagines conversations with the only person she's spoken to in years.

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  • 2

    Karana's Beloved Dog Rontu Passes

    Photo: Ranker

    Rontu was once the leader of the wild dogs responsible for the demise of Karana's brother. But after saving his life, Karana and Rontu become inseparable. For years, Rontu protects Karana and fights off the other wild dogs.

    When Rontu grows old, Karana holds him while he takes his last breath. She then inters him on the island.

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  • 3

    The Ship That Carried Karana's People Plunged

    Photo: Ranker

    After she ultimately gets rescued, Karana asks about the ship that carried off her people years earlier. She learns that the ship had collapsed in a storm, and with that revelation, she realizes once again that she's alone.

    As such, Karana remains the only surviving member of her people.

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  • 4

    Alone On The Island, Karana Loses Hope

    Photo: Ranker

    At first, Karana thinks another ship will return for her. But as the days pass, she slowly loses all hope. Karana later realizes that she's utterly alone on the island, with no chance for liberation.

    It is emotionally moving when Karana ultimately comes to this somber realization.

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